This is the moment when the Jewish tradition of social justice can shine brightly.
A truly opportune moment is staring Jewish communities around the world straight in the eye. Israel’s recent election results are challenging anyone who has blindly supported Israel. That blind support is about to be challenged like never before. Either Jewish communities confirm their values at this moment or risk losing their connection to true Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for ‘repair the world). Acting for Palestinian emancipation from Israeli military occupation must be the centerpiece of this effort.
As Benjamin Netanyahu attempts to assemble the next government, his coalition partners are cause for serious concern; they are fascists, even by many Israelis’ definition. Blind support of Israel has now caught up with Jewish communities everywhere. They must decide — to remain in total support of Israel even as these outright racist elements take control of significant ministries or stand up and finally save Israel from itself by reorientating the conversation to the core existential threat that Israel is facing, its oppression of Palestinians.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would point to Abe Foxman, the past Anti-Defamation League leader and one of American Jewry’s leading mainstream leaders for decades, as a guiding light, but he has become just that. Mr. Foxman’s recent Jerusalem Post interview broke the taboo — conditionally loving Israel is Kosher.
“I never thought that I would reach that point where I would say that my support of Israel is conditional,” Foxman said in the interview. “I’ve always said that [my support of Israel] is unconditional, but it’s conditional. I don’t think that it’s a horrific condition to say: ‘I love Israel and I want to love Israel as a Jewish and democratic state that respects pluralism.’”
A case can be made that Israel was never truly “Jewish,” “democratic,” or a state that “respects pluralism.”
There is nothing “Jewish” about displacing an entire people, creating a refugee population, militarily occupying five million people, putting Gaza under the hermetic seal of collective punishment, demolishing homes, uprooting trees, murdering journalists, arbitrarily arresting Palestinians, bargaining in dead bodies, and so on. The list…